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Do you know where to get a brake tag? ::

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    Wed Dec 31st 1969
    06:00 pm

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    "Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street. Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening."
    ~Coco Chanel

    Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

    Do you know where to get a brake tag?

    ...That's what my sister asked me today, and only because Brett and I had had a discussion about the yat dialect a while back did I know the answer to that.  It went something like this:

    April:Do you know where to get a...brake tag?
    Me: A break tag?
    A: Yeah, this guy wants to know
    Me: What is a brake t- OH!  A brake tag.  That's what they call inspection stickers in New Orleans!!
    A *turns to guy*: Where are you from?
    Guy: New Orleans...? (*all confused*)
    Me: Oh, we call them inspection stickers.  My boyfriend grew up in Slidell [a city close to New Orleans] so we were talking about that one day.
    Guy: Oh!  I was wondering why she looked so confused when I asked that.

    If you have ever spent any time in New Orleans, or in some other Southern Louisiana cities (mine included), you may have noticed that everyone here talks weird!  I thought so when I first moved here.  For the first year or so I always had to ask people to repeat what they said so that I could translate it into yankee English (I moved here from Colorado.)

    It started with people calling me "cher" (pronounced "sha") or "boo," then it was "come see!" when there was nothing to even see, and "get down" when meaning to get out of the car. 

    Now, ten years later, I find myself saying some of that stuff without even realizing it (I only say "cher" when something is really super cute [like...a baby, or a puppy or something], and i do say "come see" sometimes when there is nothing to see.)

    I wanted to find a vocabulary list, but the only one I can find is this one.  It's specific to New Orleans, so I haven't heard of all of them, but many of them are used here, like these:

    ANYWAYS - And, then; and, so

    AWRITE - The appropriate response to the greeting "Where y'at?" Also, a greeting in and of itself: "Awrite, Ed!"

    AX - Ask. [This might be in other places, too?  I don't know.]

    *BINHAVIN, BEEN HAVIN' - To have had something for a long time, as in ... Q: "How long ya had dat dress? A: "Oh, I binhavin dat."

    BOO - A term of endearment, frequently used by parents and grandparents for small children, even small children who happen to be 40 years old ... Believed to be Cajun in origin.

    *CEMENT - A standard English word, but with a special pronunciation. Locals say <SEE-ment>, not <s@-MENT>.

    INKPEN - A ball-point pen, or any kind of pen, really. Always heavy emphasis on the first syllable ... "Lemme borra ya INKpen, awrite?"  [this one confused the hell out of me when I started school here.  Someone asked me if I had an "inkpen" they could borrow and I was thinking "what other kind of pen is there?"]

    *INSURANCE - Pronounced <IN-sure-ence>.

    LAGNIAPPE - Pronounced <LAN-yap>. A little something extra.

    MAKE GROCERIES, MAKIN' GROCERIES - To do grocery shopping. Thought to have originated with the French expression for grocery shopping, "faire le marché". The verb "faire" can mean either "to do" or "to make", and the idiom may have been mistranslated.

    MAW-MAW - Ya grandma.

    PARRAIN(E) - Pronounced <PAH-ran>. Your godfather.

    PASSION MARK - The little red mark you get on your neck (or elsewhere) after a passionate session of necking. Called a "hickey" or a "love bite" everywhere else, apparently.

    WHERE YA STAY? - Where do you live? [holy shit.  This one confused me a whole lot too!]

    Y'ALL - The plural form of the second person pronoun, "you all". It's not pronounced as they would in the south, though -- no twang, no drawl, just "y'all". "You guys" is never said and is a dead giveaway that you're a Tulane student from New Jersey. [I think this is self-explanatory]

    In addition to those, I've also come across these, which I've compiled here myself.  I'm trying to stay away from things that are just mispronunciations of regular English words (and damned fi:

    Bouder: (pronounced boo-Day) Apparently French.  It means to pout.  If you stick out your lower lip, someone will tell you to "stop boodayin'"

    Cher: a term of endearment, like boo.  It could also be an exclamation when you see something cute "Aw cher the little baby!" or annoyance "Aw cher, what's going on in here?"

    Coulee: (pronounced COO-lee), what we called a "canal" in the north.  We used to have one running behind our apartment complex when we moved here, and one day in school my History teacher was like "Does anyone know what they call coulees in other places?" and I was all happy because I knew the answer was canal.

    Get down: Like I mentioned before, it means to get out of the car.  Like when you pull up to the store where your friend is running in to get something and they ask, "are you gettin' down too?"

    Lookin' at: Watching.  Yeah, I don't mean that it's just a bad pronunciation of "looking," I mean that people say they "looked at" a movie or were "lookin' at" some show.

    Mais: (pronounced "may" sort of?  It's hard to explain.  Maybe if you speak French you will understand) I don't really know what it means, but people say it all the time.  It's just sort of...there.  At the beginning of a sentence.  Like, "Mais cher, what's wrong?"  I have one friend that says "mais cher" all the time at the beginning of sentences.

    Nanny: Godmother (see PARRAIN above, which is pronounced "pah-RAN"); everyone here has a parrain and nanny

    Pass a mop or pass a sweep: To mop or sweep.  People at work used to make fun of me when I would say "catch a sweep," but everyone says to pass one.

    Paw-paw: Grandfather (see MAW-MAW above)


    *These are the ones that I admit to using sometimes...except I don't have a Cajun accent so I probably sound totally yankee saying them.  Like "beenhavin"?  Instead of saying, "I beenhavin dat," I say, "I've been havin' that."  Also, my Louisiana pronunciation of "insurance" (IN-sure-intz) is totally accidental--I grew up with that here, probably because I didn't have to worry about insurance when I was living in Colorado at age 13.  I didn't even realize I was pronouncing it that way until Brett and I saw that yat list a while back and I realized I was guilty of it.

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